eHEALTH Bureau Piramal Healthcare, the renowned drug maker, is planning to merge its research and development (R&D) company Piramal Life Sciences back with itself, reports media. A possibility of merging Piramal Life Sciences back to the company was discussed earlier, but any final decision on this have not been taken so far, informed sources closed to the management.It has been three years now that Piramal Life Sciences was hived off as a dedicated research entity. The prospect of folding the research company back into the parent has been discussed by a core management group though a final decision has not yet been taken, sources confirmed. The core management group of senior utives from the Ajay Piramal Group has been created to identify new business areas as well as grow the existing businesses and a restructured R&D focus was part of the discussion within the core group. Piramal Healthcare sold off its domestic drug formulations and diagnostic service businesses in May for at least `17,000 crore. Piramal Healthcare held 17.88% stake out of the 58.79% total promoter stake in Piramal Life Sciences (as at end June 2010). Piramal Life Sciences’ net loss widened to `36.85 crore in Q1 June 2010 compared with net loss of `28.12 crore in Q1 June 2009. Net sales declined 76.90% to `0.40 crore in Q1 June 2010 over Q1 June 2009. The proposed merger could be driven by many reasons, including poor investor response to the separate venture, the need to update investors on each development in the research pipeline in the case of a standalone research company and optimum utilisation of tax benefits, says industry analysts.